Many entrepreneurs who have reached that critical three-to-five year mark in the evolution of their business often face the challenge of “What next?” How can they grow the business? What can they do in the coming months and years to make their company dynamic? Here are five steps to lead you in the right direction.
- Get out of the trenches – and put someone else there. Once your company has gained traction, you need to look at the bigger picture and put someone else in your place for handling the day-to-day operations. Find a skilled, loyal and smart person to take on a leadership role – a professional who understands your business, and business in general.
- Analyze your data. Take a look at all the information you have about your business – where are your best customers or clients coming from? What times of the year work best for your products or services? Did you lose business? If so, what did you learn? Are there processes you can streamline for efficiency? Most companies have all the information at their fingertips – but the information isn’t valuable until it’s analyzed.
- Market your business. Marketing comes at a cost – but it is a necessary expense to build a business. You may consider a myriad of options – public relations, advertising, sponsorships, social media, Search Engine Optimization – or any of these in combination. The worst news for a company is to be the world’s best-kept secret. Spread the word – don’t keep your company hidden.
- Check out your competition and adjunct businesses. No one has a perfect recipe for success, but it’s more than okay to learn from others. You don’t want to steal ideas, but you can gain insight and knowledge if you understand the marketplace, competitors and colleagues, and other companies in your space. Join an industry organization, get involved with the Chamber of Commerce, participate or attend seminars, and stay abreast of changes.
- Become fully educated. There are classes and programs that offer wonderful resources and advice on how to move forward with your business. Take advantage! Online courses, continuing education, and excellent business programs are there for the benefit of those who care about where their company will be in a year, in 10 years and far into the future. A little research can provide a lot of learning.